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Gary explains radar images

A small, intensifying tornado formed along 122nd at 1:06 a.m. Monday morning. A small, intensifying tornado formed along 122nd at 1:06 a.m. Monday morning.
Weak tornadic circulation occurred at 1:23 a.m. between 164 and 178 Streets. The circulation dissipated a few minutes later. Weak tornadic circulation occurred at 1:23 a.m. between 164 and 178 Streets. The circulation dissipated a few minutes later.
A mesocyclone developed at 1:27 a.m.  half a mile SW of Mercy Hospital, moving NE 35 mph. A mesocyclone developed at 1:27 a.m. half a mile SW of Mercy Hospital, moving NE 35 mph.
A tornadic mesocyclone formed at 1:31 a.m. with a developing tornado.  Circulation extended from approximately May to Portland avenues between 150 and 164 Streets. A tornadic mesocyclone formed at 1:31 a.m. with a developing tornado. Circulation extended from approximately May to Portland avenues between 150 and 164 Streets.
The center of a tornadic circulation appeared at 1:37 a.m. estimated to be half a mile NE of the corner of May Ave. and 178 Street. A tornado touched down two minutes later one mile on to the NE of that location. The center of a tornadic circulation appeared at 1:37 a.m. estimated to be half a mile NE of the corner of May Ave. and 178 Street. A tornado touched down two minutes later one mile on to the NE of that location.

By Gary England, NEWS 9 Director of Meteorology

To the right are radar images from the early morning hours of March 31, 2008 when small circulations and at least one tornado moved across northern Oklahoma County.

Just imagine that you're outside your house looking at a tall thunderstorm. Then assume that you take a horizontal slice out of the storm, kind of like a pancake, pull it out and place it flat in your hand. Then, look down at it and you can see all of the little patterns in the pancake. That is basically what a radar does.

With the slices taken of the various storms, one can see small cyclonically shaped circulations that have pulled precipitation into them. This enables us to see the "hook echoes" and in one case see a "donut hole" presentation as the winds rotate in a counter-clockwise manner.

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